MOUNT Gambier Lakers haved dumped Warrnambool Seahawks from the Country Basketball League finals series.
Warrnambool trailed the south-west conference semi-final by three points at the last break but faded to lose 83-67 at St Joseph’s Primary School on Saturday.
The defeat meant a stellar campaign finished on a low note and with a sense of deja vu. Warrnambool also lost to Mount Gambier in a semi-final last season.
Coach Barry Brooks said his young side controlled 70 per cent of the play but could never put the Lakers away and “lost momentum” at critical times.
“We got away a couple of times by a reasonable amount, up to 10 points. I don’t think they got away until they gained control in the last quarter,” he said.
“We had control of 70 per cent of the game. We lost intensity on occasions and that really allowed them back in the game and gave them that chance.
“They’ve had a couple of looks at us, they knew what we did well and they did a good job in shutting down some of our options, particularly close to the basket.”
Foul trouble was a constant theme for the Seahawks. Leigh Saffin conceded two in the first 90 seconds and Josh Sobey had four by half-time.
The situation meant Brooks had to hand Josh Dean and Damian Gray more minutes at the expense of others, which sparked fatigue.
Lakers gun Simon Berkefeld took full advantage to rack up 34 points including 10 late in the match. Dellon Brown also hit 25 for the victors.
James Mitchell (16), Liam Killey (15) and Dean (14) were the best for the Seahawks, who had more in double figures but none over 20.
“I’ve said to the boys the whole season wasn’t so much about the results, it was how we went about it,” Brooks said.
“For most of the season we went about it the way I wanted and it was a learning experience.
“Last night we didn’t go about it the way we wanted.
Mount Gambier Lakers will play Horsham Hornets in the grand final at Horsham on Saturday. The Hornets beat Colac Kookas 71-66 in the other semi-final.